The Night Buffalo
PARK CITY -- There's an abundance of sex and very little joy to be found in "The Night Buffalo," a pretentious mess that seems interminable even at 97 minutes. Jorge Hernandez Aldana makes his directorial debut with this overheated, melodramatic clunker based on the book of the same name by Guillermo Arriga, who co-wrote the screenplay with Aldana.
The story opens with the suicide of Gregorio, a paranoid schizophrenic and the best friend of Manuel (the usually radiant Diego Luna, looking uncharacteristically constricted and strained). Complicating matters is that both men loved the same woman, Tania (a sensual Liz Gallardo who spends most the film naked). When Gregorio is confined to a mental hospital, Tania and Manuel begin an illicit affair that has disastrous consequences. Manuel also has an unhappy coupling with a former flame as well. The women in the film, all blessed with beautiful bodies, strip down so often it becomes comical and, finally, boring.
Aldana gets wooden performances out of his actors and the story, which cuts back and forth between past and present with the actors playing their younger selves, is difficult to follow. None of these characters seems to have jobs or real lives. Mostly it's just one desperate coupling after another, activity that quickly ceases to be erotic when there's no believable emotional connection.
At one point, Manuel goes to the zoo and shoots a wolf. This act proves, perhaps, that too much sex can drive a person insane.
Hector Ortega's shaky, handheld camerawork is overused. A throbbing, dissonant soundtrack is a further assault on the senses.
La Neta Films presentation in co-production with Canana/Fidecine/AC Films